Moments after the Houston Texans pulled off the week 18 upset against the Indianapolis Colts, I suggested the possibility that the Chicago Bears could pull off the double trade back from the first overall pick. Quarterback-needy teams tend to do desperate things on draft day, and when you factor in two AFC South teams competing to get their QB, the stakes go up.
The latest mock draft from Chad Reuter, one of NFL.com’s Draft Analysts, has the Bears executing a 1-2 swap with the Texans and also getting Houston’s third-rounder in 2023 and their 2024 first-round pick, but then the Bears send them their 2023 fifth-rounder.
He then has the Colts trading the Bears the fourth overall selection, a 2023 second-round pick, and a second and third in 2024 for the second overall pick they just got from Houston.
Here’s the first mocked pick for the Bears.
4 - Chicago Bears - Will Anderson Jr., Alabama, Edge, Junior
Chicago adds to its haul, trading back another two spots and still landing Anderson, an all-around talent on the edge. The ‘Bama defender addresses a major need for the Bears, who finished with a league-low 20 sacks in 2022.
Two trade backs and still getting the best defender in the class sounds great to me. Anderson is a day-one starter and would provide much-needed juice off the edge.
Rueter then has the Bears trading back into the first round for this player.
31 - Chicago Bears - Rashee Rice, SMU, WR, Senior
PROJECTED TRADE WITH KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
After accumulating multiple selections in the two earlier trades, the Bears are fine sending the Colts’ second-round pick (No. 35) and their own fourth-rounder to the Chiefs to move up for their choice of receiver. Rice was the main cog in the Mustangs’ offense in 2022, a target on quick screens, hitches and nine routes, where he used his strider’s speed, ability to win 50-50 balls and tracking skills to score.
I’m not a fan of this move. All the tape grinders I’ve spoken with feel Rice isn’t a first-round talent. Give me Boston College’s Zay Flowers in this spot instead.
The trade up to the end of the first may happen in order for the Bears to get a fifth-year option on another rookie, but I think there are better players still on the board in this mock.
He finished his three-round mock with three more players to the Bears, and since he didn’t provide any reasoning, I’ll provide the scouting reports from NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein in the blockquote.
53 - Chicago Bears (via BAL) - Jaelyn Duncan, Maryland, OT, Senior (RS)
Highly athletic four-year starter at left tackle who might have the best chance to stick in the league as a zone-scheme guard. It’s easy to love the athletic flashes, but it’s challenging to love the complete body of work when studying the game tape. Duncan rarely plays with enough finish and his man is frequently near the final action because of it. He has the foot speed to protect as a left tackle, but his ability to anchor is a major concern. His lateral quickness should work to his advantage as a move blocker, but he’ll need to unearth enough grit to stand up to NFL bullies at the point of attack to make it.
I like the idea of addressing OL in the second, but I’m not sure about Duncan. TCU’s Steve Avila goes a few picks later, and I like him better. Clemson defensive tackle Bryan Bresee goes with the next pick, and he could be a day-one starter at the 1-tech for the Bears.
64 - Chicago Bears - Byron Young, Alabama, DT, Senior
Interior defensive lineman with the play traits and versatility to align in odd or even fronts. Young has decent length and is well-schooled at attacking blocks with good technical savvy. He’s much better as a read-react defender than a one-gapper and must win with power and balance over quickness. He’s likely to fit into a rotational role early on but could develop into an average starter down the road.
Young would play immediately on the talent-poor Chicago d-line, but he’s not an explosive athlete and would primarily play the shade DT if drafted to the Windy City.
73 - Chicago Bears - Luke Wypler, Ohio State, C, Sophomore (RS)
Two-year starter at center for an explosive Ohio State offense. Wypler is undersized but highly athletic. His initial quickness gets him to the best angles, whether he’s cutting off linebackers or reaching and sealing outside zone blocks. He’s capable of pulling and leading the action in space, and is best suited for a move-based running attack. His lack of size and length will show up when working downhill, where struggles to sustain. He’s aware in pass protection but big bull rushers are a cause for concern. Wypler is a good technician and capable of becoming an average starter in the right scheme.
Centers often get pushed down the board, and this would be the best-case scenario for the Bears to get an interior offensive lineman in the third round. Wypler has youth on his side, so after a couple of years in an NFL strength and training program, he has the potential to solidify the middle of Chicago’s line.
How would you like it if the actual draft went like this? Check out their three-round mock at NFL.com and let us know what you would have done.